26 Mar. 2012 - 16 Oct. 2013
Findabhair was one of Maeve's kittens; see Maeve's story for her origins. She was the most independent of the kittens who stayed with me, having the usual calico tendency to want her own way, but was a cheerful little girl. She usually preferred to play and sleep by herself, but almost every evening, when I was reading in bed before going to sleep, Findabhair would come get on the bed and curl up beside me to be petted. She didn't stay more than five or ten minutes before heading back to her usual pursuits, but she made a ritual of giving me that time every day.
In early July of 2013, when Findabhair was a little over a year old, her abdomen suddenly became very distended. There are several possible causes for this, all of them bad. Tests showed that she most likely had FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), a fatal disease that occurs when a common and usually harmless feline virus mutates into a deadly form. It can cause an effusion of fluid in the abdominal cavity, causing the swelling.
Very strangely, within a couple of days after being diagnosed, Findabhair's effusion vanished over the course of about twelve hours. FIP has both effusive and non-effusive forms, depending on where the virus settles in the body, and it's not unheard-of for cats to transition between the forms, but it is very rare for a large effusion like hers to spontaneously resolve. While FIP is virtually always fatal, medication can sometimes hold it off for a short time, especially the non-effusive form, and I accordingly put Findabhair on the recommended meds. She responded well, and for a little over three months she appeared perfectly normal. Finally, though, the FIP won out over the medication, her condition failed rapidly, and I had to have her put to sleep.
Findabhair was only a year and a half old, and losing a young one like that hurts more than anything. The only comfort is that she was happy and secure during the brief time she had.